Whenever I need to track down a very specific release of a song or an artist, the first place I go is Discogs.com, the Internet’s best database for recorded music. While not perfect–there are errors and omissions as you might expect–it’s still the best thing the Net has to offer. Vinyl, CDs and even cassettes are listed from territories around the world. And if you’re looking for up-to-the-minute prices, it’s a fantastic marketplace, far better than eBay.
For example, a search for Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” returns an amazing 1,169 hits. There’s virtually every incarnation of Joy Division’s recordings plus all the covers others have done. Pretty cool, really.
If you’re a music nut and you don’t know Discogs, you should. Billboard has this profile.
As Discogs, the online vinyl and CD marketplace, celebrates its 15th anniversary, Billboard estimates that the site has supported $43.5 million in transactions so far this year.
That’s based on proprietary data supplied by the site to Billboard. (Note: Because of its provenance, the data could not be independently confirmed.) According toRon Rich, who oversees marketing for the site, so far this year about 2.5 million records have been sold among the buyers and sellers who trade on the site; as well as about 550,000 CDs and about 50,000 cassettes.
The site, founded by then-Intel programmer Kevin Lewandowski in 2000, started life as a hobby catalog for Lewandowsky’s favorite genre, electronic music. “He liked the album art and the sound that vinyl provided, but he really liked a lot of underground music that was tough to find,” Rich says. Lewandowski started with his collection of 250 pieces, working nights and weekends to automatically cross-link artists, releases and labels on a scrappy Pentium II server in his closet, according to Rich. From there, the site slowly became a user-generated, wiki-like database.
“The reason it was focused on electronic music was because it was Kevin’s own collection that started the site….[He] started out to catalog all of the techno and drum ’n’ bass music in the world.” The site’s first transaction “was a techno album from SP-23 called This is Trance,” Rich says.
Now the operators are on a quest to catalog every piece of music in the world. In 2005 it added the now-central marketplace before expanding into other genres. Based in Beaverton, Oreg., Discogs now has an office in the Netherlands and employs about 40 people in total — about half of them are developers, while the other half of the company is a community support team, Rich says.
Read the entire article here.